Last-Minute Mock Draft

I’m ignoring the teams at each slot for now since some analysts are projecting as many as 10 trades. After being buried in information for the last few weeks, here’s my final guess at how the first round shakes out.

1. Andrew Luck

2. Robert Griffin III

3. Trent Richardson

4. Matt Kalil

5. Morris Claiborne

6. Justin Blackmon

7. Fletcher Cox

8. Ryan Tannehill

9. Mark Barron

10. Michael Floyd

11. Melvin Ingram

12. Luke Kuechly

13. Cordy Glenn

14. Michael Brockers

15. Quinton Coples

16. Chandler Jones

17. Stephon Gillmore

18. Dontari Poe

19. Whitney Mercilus

20. Dre Kirkpatrick

21. Courtney Upshaw

22. Stephen Hill

23. Riley Reiff

24. Dave DeCastro

25. Jerel Worthy

26. Coby Fleener

27. Shea McLellin

28. Nick Perry

29. Dont’a Hightower

30. Peter Konz

31. Harrison Smith

32. Jonathan Martin



Draft Profile: Tom Compton

The Draft Daze interview tour continued with one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, South Dakota tackle Tom Compton. Compton, a native of Rosemount, Minnesota, never expected to be on the NFL’s doorstep, as one of the players expected to be picked in the middle rounds of next week’s draft. Compton was lightly recruited out of high school, gaining scholarship offers from mostly Division II schools in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

But he blossomed at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, a city of just 10,000 people in the southeast corner of the state. He was a four-year starter on the offensive line and added about fifty pounds to his frame, which is now prototype tackle-size (6-5, 314 pounds).  Add that to a kid who possesses a good work ethic and athleticism and you’re left with a possible sleeper pick in the draft’s middle rounds. He’s had personal interviews with the Texans, Saints, and Chargers, and made a pre-draft visit with the Minnesota Vikings, the team he rooted for growing up.

Compton’s story is already an interesting one. But next week, it will get even better.

Here’s an excerpt from my interview with Compton. Everything else will appear in the book.

It’s been a while since your school has had someone drafted (Chul Swanke in the 11th Round of the 1986 Draft). Is that exciting for you to perhaps get some publicity for your school?

It’s a really cool position that I’m in. Being the first guy drafted in the seven-round format would mean a lot to me, getting to represent the people I’ve come to know. It would be a cool way to pay back the school and maybe bring in some good recruits and help their program.

Did you think the NFL might be a possibility coming out of high school?

I hadn’t even thought of the NFL at all really. I just wanted to play college football at the best school I could go to. I wanted to play Division I, whether it was Division I or Division I-AA. I didn’t want to walk on, I just wanted to have a good experience at college and play football.

Did you get a lot bigger during colllege?

I got there at about 260 pounds and played my reshirt freshman year at 285. I was fortunate enough to start as a redshirt freshman and start every game for four years. That definitely was a cool thing to have happened. It allowed me to put a lot of tape out there.

Many thanks to Tom for the interview amid the hectic nature of draft season. Look for his name during next week’s draft coverage on ESPN and the NFL Network.  

Inside the Draft: Ralph Cindrich

Ralph Cindrich provides a unique perspective on the NFL Draft, having faced it as a player and an agent for more than 30 years.

The Draft Daze interview tour continued with Ralph Cindrich, a former standout player who has had a very successful career as an agent. Cindrich has negotiated the NFL’s Draft for more than 30 years with a list of clients that has included Jeff Saturday, Mark May, Gary Clark, and Al Toon among others.  This year, things come full circle as Cindrich serves as a co-representative for Al’s son, Nick, a wide receiver from Wisconsin. He also wins bonus points for having the best draft day story of any interview subject so far (which is so good I’m saving most of it for the book) and being one of the most entertaining people on my Twitter feed.

Here are a few highlights of the interview that I’m not hoarding for later use. The first one focuses on Cindrich’s own frustrating experience as a draft prospect. After being an All-American in both wrestling and football at the University of Pittsburgh, injuries pushed Cindrich all the way into the fifth round.

What’s it like to slide into the later rounds on draft day?
You have so many emotions flowing, you see guys getting picked that you absolutely know you’re better than. Each round, each time someone else is picked, it keeps going and going. When it happened with the Atlanta Falcons, it was great. It was one of those things, once it was all over, it was great.

What do you think has helped you be so successful as an agent?

I was very fortunate that I grabbed onto – at a very early age – extremely rugged individuals mentally who would listen to about anything I would say. With guys like that, you can do about anything. You can actually manipulate the draft.

What’s draft day like as an agent?

Generally speaking where it happens (where someone is picked),  is not as important for most as long as it happens. Getting the call is a tremendous relief. After the first day, you have to get on the phone (and talk to players who went undrafted), even if the guy had no chance of being drafted. A lot of times they won’t have the chance of going where they think they want to go.
Many thanks to Ralph for the interview time amidst the busy dealings of free agency and the approaching draft. Follow him on Twitter (@RalphCindrich) and visit his website here